Top chef predicts food trends as part of new Estrella Damm report

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Jackie Annett reports on the launch of the first Estrella Damm Food & Drink Trends Report

Reducing food waste, foraging, sourcing local ingredients, transparency and embracing the growing plant-based movement could give bar owners and restaurateurs a leading edge in 2018, according to world-renowned chef Joan Roca.

Joan, proprietor of El Celler de Can Roca in Girona – which has twice been voted number one restaurant in the word – has collaborated with Estrella Damm, the Mediterranean beer of Barcelona, and global trend specialists Brand Positive to unveil the first Estrella Damm Food & Drink Trends Report.

Speaking exclusively to the trade press before the launch of the report, Joan advised chefs to “never stop rethinking menus and ingredients”, adding that “locally sourcing food is a trend that is here to stay”.

“As chefs, we have a responsibility to raise awareness and encourage new ways of enjoying food and drink, and this year is undoubtedly the year of the planet,” he explained. “Our health as human beings is deeply related to the health of the planet, just as the health of the planet is deeply related to health of human beings, and I am committed to promoting this through my work in the years ahead.”

The report was unveiled at Manchester’s first Gastronomy Congress where 250 leading chefs, restaurateurs and food experts were treated to Joan’s gastronomic creations.

During the event, Joan and five Michelin-starred chef Paco Pérez, who is set to open a new restaurant in Manchester this month called Tast Cuina Catalana, shared a range of new dishes, some of which brought to life the key trends outlined in the report, such as marinated mackerel with pickles (pictured).

These included Memories of a Bar – a collection of miniature tapas inspired by local Catalan recipes that evoke memories and highlight heritage.

The main trends for spring and summer 2018 are:

Foraging and botanicals
• The rise of wild foods and modern-day foraging has led to “forgotten food” such as wood sorrel, ramsons and lichen appearing on menus across the UK.
• Many ingredients are only available for a limited time throughout the year – they are “hyper- seasonal”, which leads to an intuitive style of cooking that is “hyper-local”.

Local/global suppliers
• Consumers are seeking authentic ingredients and dishes that speak of a region’s heritage and highlight local produce, such as Mallaig kippers, milk and cream from The Estate Dairy and Mediterranean beer from Estrella Damm.
• Diners and chefs are increasingly conducting their own ingredient discovery tours and have been more willing to travel the world to experience a true taste of a region on a plate.

Food waste & the circular economy
• Food waste is high on the consumer agenda, leading operators to offer “root to stem”, “nose to tail” and “pollen to petal” menus, which use all parts of the plant or animal, such as celery root, beet leaves, glamorous offal and whole cods heads.
• Other waste is being used in fermenting, pickling and preserving for spring/summer recipes, while packaging is being recycled into crockery.

Plant-based food
• Meat is increasingly seen as a treat, rather than a staple, with a “quality up, quantity down” mind-set becoming more prevalent in response to the ethical and environmental impact of the meat industry.
• Consumers are looking for healthier, sustainable diets and are turning to plant-based produce, such as nut and plant “mylk”, plant proteins and unconventional sources of mushrooms, root vegetables and algae.

Transparency
• In a world of fake news, transparency and integrity in food and drink production are the key ingredients in earning consumer trust.
• Consumers want to be able to trace a product back through an ethical supply chain to where it was produced, setting a new benchmark for advocacy and loyalty.

The report also found Middle Eastern cuisine, health foods, scientifically-altered food, insect protein, corporate social responsibility, experiential dining, gourmet home cooking and “conscious dining” as other key trends for 2018.

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